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John Michael

John Michael

  • Professor of English and Visual and Cultural Studies
  • Director of American Studies and Chair of the Department, English

PhD, The Johns Hopkins University

405 Morey Hall
(585) 275-9259

Curriculum Vitae

Research Overview

John Michael's research interests include contemporary relations between academic intellectuals and popular politics, the problematics of national identity in American literary romances and films, and the complex interrelations between the interpretation of literature and the reading of history.

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Selected Publications

  • Secular Lyric: The Modernization of the Poem in Poe, Whitman, and Dickinson, Fordham University Press 2018
  • Identity and the Failure of America from Thomas Jefferson to the War on Terror, University of Minnesota 2008
  • Anxious Intellects: Academic Professionals, Public Intellectuals, and Enlightenment Values, Duke 2000
  • Emerson and Skepticism: The Cipher of the World, Johns Hopkins 1988
  • "Profiles in Courage, JFK's Books for Boys," in American Literary History (5 July 2012)
  • "The Presence of Immigrants, or Why Mexicans and Arabs Look Alike," in Making Sense of Presence: Philosophy, History and Politics, spec. issue of Storia della Storiographia 55 (2009), 144-58
  • "Liberal Justice and Particular Identity: Cavell, Emerson, Rawls," in Arizona Quarterly 64.1 (2008), 27-47
  • "Identity, Masochism, and the Democratic Intellectual in the War on Terror," in Intellectuals and Public Responsibility, spec. issue of The Hedgehog Review (2007), 71-80
  • Review: George Snedeker, The Politics of Critical Theory: Language/Discourse/Society, in Socialism and Democracy 19.1 (2005)


  • “Death, Love, and Emerson’s Poetry"

Work in progress

  • Modern Poetry in Nineteenth-Century America: Poe, Whitman, Dickinson, and Death


  • John Michael's teaching interests span the corpus of American literature, the questions of aesthetics, and the demands of worldly criticism and critical theory in a situation that has been global for a very long time.


  • Presidential Fellow, Salzburg Seminars, Salzburg, Austria, 1993
  • Fulbright Lecturing Award, Instytut Anglistyki, Uniwersytet warszawski, Poland, 1990-91
  • CIES Fellowship, Summer Polish Institute, University of Pittsburgh, 1990
  • Junior Faculty Research Fellowship, University of Rochester, 1989
  • William B. Kenan Teaching Fellowship for Excellence and Innovation in Undergraduate Teaching, The Johns Hopkins University, 1981-82 and 1982-83
  • Humanities Center Fellowship for Study in Paris, The Johns Hopkins University, 1980-81
  • Human Biology Fellowship, The Johns Hopkins University, 1979-80
  • Graduate Fellowship, The Johns Hopkins University, 1977-79
  • Advisory Board, Journal of Narrative Theory, 2000-present
  • Editorial Board, Telos, 1990-98
  • Steering Committee, Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies Conference, Rochester, 1994
  • Tenure and Promotion Referee for (most recently) Princeton University, University of Michigan, Georgia Technological Institute, New York University
  • Outside Reader, Westview Press, University of Minnesota Press, Harper Collins, University of Chicago Press, Johns Hopkins University Press, University of Oklahoma Press, PMLA